International Animal Welfare Organisation, World Animal Protection welcomes the news that The Madras High Court has recently opined that a uniform policy should be put in place to completely prohibit future ownership of elephants by individuals or temples and to bring all elephants under the care of the Forest Department.
The judiciary is to be lauded for stating, “Any kind of mistreatment of elephants and other animals must be dealt with promptly and as mercilessly as such persons deal with the animals.” Given that an elephant was abused in Thekkampatti rejuvenation camp for temple and mutt elephants in Coimbatore, we reiterate our commitment for all elephants to be humanely treated. Also, recently, a decision was made by the forest department of Rajasthan, that following veterinary inspections of the Amer fort elephants in Jaipur in July 2020, that on medical and moral grounds, the sickest and unfit animals should no longer be used for entertainment purposes, which is a progressive step forward.
The Court heard the public interest litigation (PIL) petitions moved by activist Rangarajan Narasimhan over the alleged inhumane treatment of certain elephants at the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple in Tiruchirapalli. In this regard, it was pointed out that according to the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, an elephant must be maintained by the same mahout during its entire lifespan, except when they are under inebriated condition or suffering from a prolonged illness. He stated that the elephants in question did not have records required for their possession.
“There are numerous cases on record on cruelty to captive elephants in private possession so World Animal Protection applauds the Madras High Court for suggesting a prohibition on the private upkeep of elephants as a welfare measure,” Gajender K Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection, India. The directive of the Madras High Court regarding the welfare of captive elephants serves as a precedent for the treatment of the elephants that continue to suffer at the famed Amer fort in Jaipur in Rajasthan.
Image for Reference: Elephants and Madras High Court
“World Animal Protection welcomes this decision as well and encourages the Rajasthan government to stand by this decision and not allow these sick elephants to be used for rides. Given that the Madras High Court directive clearly indicates that “the use of elephants for joyrides, for exploitation, use as “beasts of burden” must completely be prohibited by a uniform policy,” we must do everything in our capacity to ensure that the National Heritage Animal of India is treated well and respected everywhere in all situations. Elephants are wild animals, not commodities. Wildlife belongs in the wild,” says Gajender K Sharma, Country Director, World Animal Protection India office.
Notes to Editors
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